As more states consider measures to legalize marijuana, one prominent congressional Republican wants to know what his constituents think about the issue.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., posed the question, “Do you support the legalization of marijuana at the federal level?” to constituents Wednesday. The survey was first reported by Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell, who found the poll embedded on the congressman’s website as part of a Google alert that notifies him when a “.gov” page contains the word “marijuana.” But a spokesman for the Louisiana Republican stressed that the survey question did not indicate Scalise was leaning toward supporting marijuana legalization.
“Congressman Scalise is a staunch conservative who likes to know what his constituents are thinking on issues," Scalise spokesman T.J. Tatum wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call. "Scalise is opposed to the legalization of marijuana because, as noted by law enforcement officials, it is a gateway to more dangerous drugs, but he always appreciates learning the views of the people throughout his district.”
The marijuana question was part of a series of poll questions sent to Scalise's constituents. Other topics have included the president’s immigration policy and taxes. The results of the surveys are not made public.
Though Scalise's office emphasized the congressman is opposed to marijuana legalization, Angell took the fact that the question was posed at all as a positive.
"This is a great sign because we know that whenever voters are asked their position on marijuana laws the result always comes out to be strongly pro-legalization,” Angell wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call. “Cannabis reformers won five separate votes in a row on the floor of the Republican-controlled House last year, and the fact that leadership is exploring public support for the issue bodes well for our future efforts."
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